Thursday, December 26, 2013

So this is Christmas ...

You wouldn't believe all the Christmas music I have learned this month... thanks to my companion... #futureMOTABmember... But its great- it makes up for the lack of caroling. It doesn't exist here. I tried to explain to my Brazilian roommates that we wanted to go ``caroling`` and they both started laughing in our faces. Haha ok. It just wasn't meant to be. Gotta let go of these american traditions, I suppose.
MERRY MERRY MERRY CHRISTMAS meus entes queridos!!! It definitely is the most wonderful time of the year! 

Thanks for all the Christmas letters by the way! My Zone Leader is getting sick of me I think, haha. He said next to Elder Taylor in our mission, I get the most letters. I am not sure if he is right, but I sure do have the greatest family in the world. That I do know.Hahaha so thanks. You guys are great! Letters help SO much, you have no idea. 

Great week- we did a TON of street contacts as part of a Zone Goal from Tuesday´s meeting. And... Lais was finally baptized. Recap, for those of us who don't remember this little angel: Our zone leaders gave us a reference- a girl who had been going to church in their ward with her boyfriend who is a member there. This girl is Julianna. Anyways, we passed by her house a lot, but she was never home. She works all day every day. But, the girl who always answered the door was her little sister, Lais. So, of course, we started teaching her. In the beginning, she didn't feel ready to be baptized, but we kept teaching her and following up with her progress. Anyways, after we taught her the last lesson, she told us she had dreamed the night before that she needed to be baptized and that the church was true. So, she accepted baptism- and wanted to be baptized as soon as possible.( This was about a month ago- more or less.) Her parents were fine with her being baptized, but wanted her to wait a little longer, and for some strange reason, she refused to tell them about her dream... Then she stopped coming because of the work load at school. But 2 weeks ago she called us and said, I want to come back. We took her to church and in the meeting she said, ``I want to be baptized on Saturday, for my birthday``. We were shocked. But, nevertheless, Saturday, on her birthday, she was baptized and yesterday confirmed in sacrament meeting. SO COOL! 

Sister De Paula hit her 9 month mark on the mission Saturday and I hit mine this Friday... so we took a few funny pictures. I don't actually know why Sister Missionaries take the ``pregnant photos``... and I swore I never would... but... we did. Ha don't freak out. Yes, we are weird, but at least we recognize that right??? 

I read a message by Elder Holland that was written to missionaries and armed forces and whatever other person that is away from home on Christmas. He talked about his first Christmas away from home, that it is one he will never forget because is was the first unselfish Christmas of his life. It is in the Christmas without tinsel, and trees, and trimmings and toys that we learn what Christmas is really about, isn't it? 

I was thinking about the Nativity skit that we do every year....with Mary and Joseph, the shepards, and animals. I was thinking about each role we assign all the cousins. When I was younger, I was always Mary... my brothers shepherds... but we mixed and matched until everyone had a part to play. This year I am not Mary. I am not a shepherd, merely watching. I am not one of the wise- men either, giving gifts or traveling from a far. As missionaries, we have one of the coolest roles of them all, aside from the role of the savior and his sweet mother- we get to be the angel. I never gave much thought to the angel, and in all reality, always forgot about him when assigning roles. But this year, I am the angel- bringing good tidings and great joy to all the earth- the news of the birth of the savior of the world. But its not because I wear a name tag, or because I am far from  home. It is because I am a member of the true church of our living savior. You, too, are a member of that church. And whether you be on a mission, in the army, over land, or sea; whether or not your are ``home for Christmas`` you have a message to share. Though our locations may vary, our message is the same. You too, can be someone´s angel and declare glad tidings of great joy. So my challenge to you this holiday season and forever is to be ``an angel``. Share the gospel with someone this week and this Christmas WILL become one you will never forget. 

I love you all and am grateful for your support. May we all remember why we celebrate this special day and do our best to keep that memory in our hearts every day of the year. Be safe. Be good. Be happy! I love you.

Love, 
Sister M. Seal
 


















 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Merry Almost Christmas

Woa. Crazy. I almost forgot to write this email. Yikes.... hahaha.

People, people, people, ONE WEEK TIL CHRISTMAS! WHOOOOOOOOOOOO!

And in case you were wondering, no it still isnt snowing here- so I still don't believe it- but, I am willing to accept it anyway- because it means the season of miracles and we are DEFINITELY seeing miracles here. 

Ha. So... Katie´s VISA situation. NUTS. And I thought I had problems getting here. Good luck Kate. I also have a feeling that Katie´s area is a lot hotter than mine, because, sure it feels like summer here- but it really still isn't too bad. HOT. Never gonna have snow... but it really isn't as hot as everyone says it would be, or that it will be. Don't get me wrong- its frying my hair and i have a lot of new freckles- but I´d still say Arizona is more of an oven that João Pessoa. #countingmyblessings.

Ok. So we had 2 baptisms this week- Matheus and his Uncle, Severino. It was really cool working with them this week. Yes, they too are thanks to Jaqueline- it was actually a street contact we did one day when she was with us- and SHE was the one who stopped Matheus on the road. Hahaha So- there is the picture.

This week was our mission christmas conference. SO FUN. Loved it. They watched Singles Ward 2.... not sure that was the best idea because the movie is about marriage, but whatever, didn't watch it anyway. So great to catch up with all my buddies- including: Sciammarella, Bassi, some other kids from previous districts, etc. Wish we all met up as a mission more often!!!  Anyways, I sent a ton of pics of the conference- not super exciting- no huge group pictures or anything, but they are seriously some of my favorite people in the world. LOVE them.

Mom and Dad- Happy Anniversary Saturday!! 

Next week I don't think I will be writing on Monday because p-day was moved to Wednesday so we have Christmas day off- but I will be skyping, so NO complaints. Cant wait to talk to you guys! love you! 

The work is going great here- it just keeps getting better and better. No better time to be a missionary than at christmas time- to share the news of not only His birth, but also the news that He lives today, and that He will come again. As the angels declared long ago, ``He is coming``. We can be angels too... we can declare glad tidings of great joy. Share the gospel. Be someone´s angel. 

Love you guys! Merry Christmas! HAPPY HOLIDAYS to everyone!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Missing Post - Sorry from McKenna's Mom

** Sorry to all of you - McKenna's mom had an incredibly hectic week and missed posting this blog. So here it is a little late.

Yes, Happy December folks! 3 weeks from today is Christmas. YES!

Cutting to the chase.. transfers. Didnt happen. Ok, so they did, but once again, just not for me. Hahahaha I am certain that if I look in my Mission Call Packet it will read, ``You are hereby called to serve in the Brasil João Pessoa PROSSIND mission because I am NEVER leaving. No complaints. I have the best area in my mission. Im convinced. And what I have learned is that the important changes on a mission have nothing to do with maps or boundaries or packing suitcases. The important change is that God is changing who I am in the way HE designed me to change. We dont need to ask someone to change our circumstances....but like Nephi, we can have courage and faith to pray instead for faith to change our own circumstances. 

So.... I´m staying. And.... Sister Moore is staying too. We are really excited actually and we have a lot of great ideas for how to help this area this transfer- I am REALLY EXCITED. And part of that plan may or may not include caroling with the members... Do they even do that in Brazil??? I dont know. Ha this month is going to be stellar. 

So happy to hear Thanksgiving was good:) I am jealous... we definitely didnt really celebrate here- we just went out for Pizza- YUM, but definitely not seal family tradition. That night we did a little fireside with the youth too to try to get them to do a little more missionary work. Think it went well, we will see. We have AWESOME youth here though. Some of the coolest kids I know.

Ok. Miracle moment. We were really trying to have another baptism last week- working hard with people to help them prepare to be baptized... but we didnt think of Josias. So, we were shocked when, waiting outside for Jaqueline, Josias told us, ``I am ready to be baptized.`` Wait, like, what? Josias is Jaqueline´s dad- Sister Alves and I taught him a LONG time ago. He is the reason we met Jaqueline, actually. But, he never wanted to be baptized. So last week Jaqueline told him, Dad, you need to be baptized and her simple, sweet testimony broke him! He was baptized! It was one of my favorite baptisms so far! So many people were crying and the member of the bishopric thanked Jaqueline and Josias and said, ``Of all of the baptims I have watched- EVEN the baptisms on my mission, this is the one where I have felt the spirit strongest...`` and He cried the whole time. It was so cool. I am SO PROUD of Jaqueline. She is so amazing. And all the members are telling her that she needs to get a nametag- Sister Jaqueline. I agree- she is a better missionary, more of a missionary than I am and I am the one with the call. Hahaha its great. Really humbling and great and the same time.

Thrilled to hear katie got her visa. Thats really a huge blessing! And Grandma- definitely praying for you! Love you!

Anyways, so not much changed but we did get a new brazilian roomate- YES! I need the help haha. Overall, awesome week. 

I love you guys, and unfortunately my time is out. LOVE YOU SO MUCH.

Tchau!

Love, Sister M. Seal



The funny think about the baptism is that Josias couldnt be baptized in cold water so we had to boil water and carry it and dump it in the font. crazy!


pictures of the pan of water boiling for josias baptism.



Monday, December 9, 2013

The clay for the Master Potter


Happy Birthday yesterday, Papa! Hope it was WONDERFUL!
Gente, essa semana vai ser maravilhosa! Woa... sorry. I didn't realize I was using Portuguese. Desculpa. But really, this week is going to rock. We have already started off great. This morning I started a snow ball fight in my apartment with the ice/ slush in the freezer.  Yep, we don't have snow here- which means we gotta get creative because my need for cold, white weather is going NOWHERE. Haha I don't think my companion was too happy with me- but then she got me back real good with a shot to the head. KO! Haha i hit the ground laughing so hard- great morning. That's what you get from a Colorado kid and a Utah crazy. #lovingthe``winter``weather

Yesterday was cool. Jaqueline spoke in Sacrament Meeting on faith and missionary work- it was really cool. She is a really great example for this ward. Josias is doing great too- he was confirmed yesterday. Jaqueline invited two friends to come watch her talk and we taught them later that night and they both accpeted baptism. (It is an uncle and 14-year-old boy). The uncle (Neto) studied theology for 7 years but really loved the church. But the cool part was what Matheus, the boy, said. We were all so happy to hear Neto accepted baptism even though he has been baptized many times before and usually people argue about that. YES! He understood the Restoration. Ha. Then Matheus said he was excited to be baptized and that he is excited because he has never been baptized before. It was a really, really cool lesson. We will be working with them a lot this week and I will let you know how it goes.
Tomorrow is our mission christmas conference! YES!!!!! I should have tons of great photos to send your way next Monday. Be excited... I am STOKED. Love these crazy kids here in JP- so excited to see them all again.

So this week, after transfers- I hit a wall. I am not a perfect person and I will never be a perfect missionary, so I hope you aren't disappointed in me, but it's true. This week was really hard emotionally. I couldn't even tell you what was wrong.. because I hadn't even noticed that my behavior had changed until my companion stopped me on the side of the road during street contacts and I broke. They say that hell is a state of no progression. I never understood that. But, now, I am sure of it.

I have never in my life been apathetic. I have never in my life been unmotivated either. On the contrary, I´d actually like to believe that I am very self-motivated. I always have a goal, the next step in mind. But before this week, I have never felt so lost in my entire life. Not knowing what I want or what I am doing. Or even who I am. I used to make excuses for myself....in my head... ``I can't change....  thats just the way I am``. I never tried to change because I never saw change as a possibility. So, whether it was: I get offended easily, I am short-tempered, I am bossy... oppinionated... shy...or any mix or match in between, that was always my response. My excuse. I saw a lot of changes in myself in the beginning of my mission. I dont even know what changes they are- or if any of you would even notice them at all. But they were there. This week I said I was feeling lost. And I was. When high school essays or writing prompts asked one to describe themself- I always had an answer, but asking my self the same  questions this week, ``Who are you``? My mind drew a blank. I don't even know anymore... I have talked to a lot of missionaries who feel they have hit this wall before too- almost like a plateu. I promise you that no greater pain exists that the torment of feeling like you are not progressing when you know you should be.

But, this week, we had a killer zone training that blew my mind. The LZ´s talked about God as the potter- an analogy  we have all heard before. They talked about how when master potters are creating something on a wheel- if it beccomes even slighty distorted, the potter will crush the clay into a ball again  and start from scratch- because what they were creating wasnt really what that potter intended that clay to be. The ZLs talked about each of us in the clay in the potter´s hand. That maybe it hurts to have become something you thought you were and they to be broken down again... but thats because who you had become was never who God had intended you to be. And He will build you up again to be what He desired when He created you. I feel like that this week. I think I had an idea my entire life of who I was- virtues and vices- dreams and defeats- everything I wanted out of life based on what I thought I was capable of. But I have been broken. And quite frankly, I think I am not even all the way broken yet- I believe He is still breaking me. But at the same time, I believe He is teaching me that in all reality- I was becoming someone I thought I needed to be but I did it my way and now that I have no idea who I am, I am ready for Him to show me who I was supposed to become in the first place. I really don't know if any of this even makes sense, but it was an incredible lesson to me this week.

I know we all feel broken down sometimes- and that's hard. It's really really hard to feel like we dont know what we are doing, or even  who we are. But I believe all we have to know about ourselves is that we are children of a God who loves us. One who designed us to be someone we have never  even dreamed ourselves capable of being. So if you feel broken, Look up. Tell God you are ready to be who He intended you to be and you will know what He wants for you and He will show you how to get there. Look up. Dont look down on others, or side to side to compare. Look up and heavenward and God will take you there.
I am not trying to say that I am done changing, or that I have even started to become who God wants me to be. But, for 20 years I never thought to change because 20 years of habits is quite the task to unravel and refine. But, I guess I am trying to say that it doesnt matter how old you are or how many traits you want to develop or do away with. Your entire life here on earth was designed to change you and you have today, you have tomorrow. Change is really hard- but its possible. And... when done in the Lord´s way, its worth it.
Anyways, I love you guys so much. Have a wonderful week. You are all stellar! Be safe.

Serve. Go caroling. Smile. And... go start a snowball fight;)

Love, 
Sister M. Seal

Monday, November 25, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Hello wonderful family! O que saudades de vocês! HAPPY THANKSGIVING (thursday)!!!!!

Katie! Congratulations! Your VISA is ready for pickup?! That is a huge blessing- a girl from my MTC district STILL is in the states. I am  really excited for you.  

So... this week was stellar! We did a TON of contacts on the road- always good to talk with a lot of people. And, we did divisions/ splits with the sister training leaders again. It was great. 

But... of course, the best part of the week was.... Lucas´ baptism! Wahoo! He is 10- and about just the coolest kid in Brazil. LOVE him! He has wanted to be baptized from the first day we met him over a month ago. It was great! Yes, this is another friend of Jaqueline. I seriously am convinced that she is an angel. I LOVE her so so so much. She brought all of our investigators to church yesterday too. That is not to say that we are not working- we spent all morning trying to bring people to church. But it does go to show that this is the work of the members- they can do missionary work SO much better than we missionaries can. She is inspiring. I have learned a lot about what kind of member I want to be when I get home. It makes me sad to think about how little I did do when I was still home.

Jaqueline just really ``gets it``. Every store she enters, she invites someone to come to church- every day she is passing references. Its inhuman. She is an amazing blessing.

Anyways, next week is transfers AGAIN. Dont worry, I dont believe it either. I have absolutely no idea what will happen because I am pretty much convinced my mission is João Pessoa Brazil - PROSSIND. I have doubts that I will ever leave this ward, which is FINE by me- there isnt a better one in Joao Pessoa. I am so blessed to be here. But, whatever happens, it should be interesting. Ill let you all know 12/04. 

So Thanksgiving is this week. Wahoo! How fun! I hope you all have great plans. I hope you know how grateful I am for each of you. Your examples and support. I have the greatest family in the world. Não tenho dúvidas. I love  you guys, and I hope you have a great week. Eat some pumpkin pie and rolls for me, ok? :)

Sorry this was short, but next week will be exciting, promise:)

Love,
Sister M. Seal



Monday, November 18, 2013

Bat Encounter

So. Dont kill me but I used all of my time writing to Katie, Mom, and President Nogueira and now I have like 5 minutes to type up this week. (NOTE TO MOM: NO this does NOT mean I want you to write me less next week- your email should still be long. Please. :) )
Venis was confirmed yesterday- it was great! 

We should have a baptism this coming weekend.... at least one.

Crazy thing that happened: we were teaching on the street last night and a BAT flew past me- hitting my ear on its way by- probably one of the scariest things that has ever happened to me since I have never even seen a bat to begin with!!!

Haha we also made a Cigarrette Tea. Chá de cigarro. Its supposed to help people quit smoking. I think it helped one of our investigators a lot! He threw up. Gross- but is smoking less now. Maybe he needs to drink it again? Ughhh... how do people smoke? Just the smell of that tea made me sick. But it was one of the funniest experiences Ive had on the mission so far. I cant believe he drank it! And his wife was laughing the whole time. Poor girl, she just wants him to quit so bad. 

OH! We had a sisters meeting Friday and it was amazing! So great to see all the sisters- Sister Bassi, Sciammarella, Morgan (companion from the MTC), Woodland, and Johnson especially. That was cool. 

Tomorrow I have to give the training at our district meeting. NERVOUS. But, it will be fine, I hope. *crossing fingers*. 
 



 

Have a great week. Love you guys.  Be safe. 
Sorry I am so lame- but I sent pictures, so dont be too upset.

Love, 
Sister M. Seal

Monday, November 11, 2013

Lift Where We Stand

We had a baptism! Wahoooooooooo! Her name is Venis. She was a reference (one of MANY) from Jaqueline. It was the most beautiful baptism ever! The spirit was really strong. Spiritual RECHARGE. Anyways, this girl is so cool, she goes to seminary every day, she loves reading the book of mormon and she answers the interview questions as if she grew up in the church. Its really great. We are working a lot with teenagers right now- and they all love seminary. Logically! Seminary is LEGAL! The hard part is that all of these teens want to be baptized, but their parents arent allowing it... it nearly breaks my heart. But, we are praying hard and I know that God is in control. We do what we can and Heavenly Father always makes up the difference- because He is the difference. He is everything and He wants these kids to be baptized even more than I do.
We had a cool activity at the church Thursday. It was a ``Tree of Life`` activity, with the iron rod, based on Lehi´s vision. It was awesome! Everyone loved it! That is what the crazy pictures of everyone with blindfolds is. And the group picture too.
8 investigators in church again. This area is rocking! Now we just gotta get them all baptized right? Yeah... like I said, come on parents!!! Ha. One really cool thing was Gilvana. She is 9 and she came to church with us for the first time yesterday. Gilvana told my companion, during the meeting, ``I am going to participate in this church. I want to be baptized.`` SO cool. Her older sister is already a member, so this may just work, folks! Her parents always work sundays, so they cant come to chruch... but I think they will still let Gilvana be baptized. *Crossing fingers*.
Thursday we had zone conference, which is always great. And Saturday we had training from the assistants, which was also great. They talked about how we baptize 200 people per month, but that this isnt good enough anymore because another mission in Brazil baptizes 1000/ month. WOW! I am so happy to hear that missions in whatever part of the world are having so much success and doing so much to push this work forward. And yes, its true- our mission is capable of thousands. We have a God of miracles- anything is possible. This is true for any aspect of our lives. And tomorrow we have district meeting again. YES! I love all the training we get, because we NEED it. We have cool leaders- I just have the coolest mission in general. Que orgulho! :)
Yep, wonderful week. Actually, this month is just wonderful. And this transfer. And this area, this ward, this mission. I feel so blessed to be here in Prossind, and to be here serving in JP. There is no one else I´d rather be than a representative of my Savior.
I love you guys! I really dont think there is anyone in the world more blessed than I. I have an amazing family- one that means more to mean that life itself. I have wonderful friends and some of the greatest examples the world has to offer. And I am a missionary of the true church of our Lord and Savior. YOU, too, are a member of that church. That should make you smile. Think about that today, and then, lets all go out an do something about it, shall we? The thought comes to mind that we all just need to lift where we stand. Every member has work to do to bring HIS work forward. Urgency is key because HE is coming. So where ever you are in the world today- lift where you stand. Make someone smile. Make someone feel God´s love through YOURS.
LOVE YOU SO MUCH.
Love, Sister M. Seal

May the heavens pour out blessings on all those in the Philippines.







Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Another Great Week!

Do you all realize how many weeks until Christmas? WAHOOOOOOOOOO. No. You cant even tell its the holiday season here. It was like Christmas in Mexico. Total deception. Halloween doesnt exist. Thanksgiving doesnt exist. SNOW doesnt exist. But... dont you worry. I saw lights in the windows of my neighbor´s apartment yesterday. We took pictures- lots, and put of lights of our own. (Thank you Elders who left them behind). So legit! Ok. Trunky moment over now.
Amazing, wonderful, fabulous week. Really. We had 9 investigators in church- which is a blessing in itself. And if all goes right- a few of those people should be baptized next Sunday. Our teaching group is just amazing. We are teaching a lot of teenagers, and their families too where possible. The best part is that they all went to seminary every day last week. SO cool! Even better, almost everyone we are teaching right now is a reference from my best friend, Jaqueline. She is so cool. She single-handedly brought 6 of those people to church sunday and she bore her testimony in sacrament meeting. She spends a good deal of her time calling friends and inviting them to church. She may or may not be one of the coolest members I know. Recent-converts are so cool. 

Saturday we started an English class at the church. It went pretty well. Our ward-mission leader was actually the one who taught it. He is brazilian but he speaks really well. I think Next saturday we will teach though. Its pretty cool, and when investigators come, ainda mais legal! 

Portuguese is coming a long SO much better these days. My companion and I never speak english- only in the english class on saturdays :) And I am finally having people telling me I prounounce things well. YES. Its about time. Ha. But... I still have a long way to go. I think reading the book of mormon out loud is definitely helping- so if any of you are trying to learn a langauge, put President Hinckley´s challenge to the test- dont take my word for it. The prophet said it first!

Probably the best news of the week: Cleonice was finally confirmed (she was traveling in Brasília for the past few weeks). It was great! We also had a baby blessing in the ward yesterday. Pretty much my favorite sacrament meeting so far. Fast Sundays are always cool arent they? Other blessing? Eliane finally quit smoking. That was a huge battle, and we are really proud of her. She is also in the book of Alma- I love how seriously she takes the Book of Mormon. 

Just a wonderful week. Which reminds me of the phrase I need to teach yaáll. QUE BÊNÇÃO. It means, what a blessing, and it is definitely a phrase I use regularly- as should we all, because we are just SO blessed. 

This Wednesday is Zone Training. YES! I love meetings. Weird, I know. But... it also means: Letters!! That will be great to hear from you all. 
Adventure of the week? Yes, still with our apartment. The bathroom. The shower drain is rediculously clogged up and our floor has been flooded for about....48 hours now. Haha poor Sister Nogueira (mission presidents wife). She is pretty worried about us. So I think someone will be there later today to help us out. Ha. 

Well, other than that, this week was great. Every single day was wonderful. Thank you for your prayers and support and know that I am praying for you too. I love you guys. Have a great week. 

Love, 

Sister M. Seal

P.S. How was Halloween?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Abrasileirar


So... I have heard about the 7 plagues. But, I mean, come on, can't 7 be the limit?? Hahahaha the number of surprises in our apartment has far exceeded any of our expectations, I am sure. We have had Cats and Cockroaches. Flies and frogs. Worms and wasps. Oh, and of course, a never-ending supply of lizards, grasshoppers, spiders, ants, and mosquitoes. Keeps us on our toes. Fun right? It's like, why not just live outdoors? To avoid the rain? Ha wrong again. Our apartment floods anyway. Hahahaha we love it. We really do. It keeps things interesting. But... unfortunately, still no monkeys, Kim. Sorry. :)
My companion and I have made a lot of ``New Transfer Resolutions``.... one of them being: We never talk in English anymore... which means we are going to forget it by Christmas, I am sure. So I thought it would be good if I started teaching you some phrases/ words so you are completely lost the next time I call/ skype home. Verb of the week: Abrasileirar. Brilliant! It means to brazilianize. I LOVE IT! Thats what we are doing here- being ´´brazilianized´´. haha that verb really isnt going to help you much but i´ll think of a better one next week.
Changes: Our district changed. Our new District leader is Elder Terranova. He is from Highland, UT. Cool, right? No, I didnt know him before the mission. And, the new Sister in our apartment is Sister De Paula from Recife. YES! Brazilian. It is helping bastante with our Portuguese. Gente boa. She is really great.
Other blessings this week: We had a cool activity at the church last week and Jaqueline brought a handful of friends, all of whom we are now teaching! Jaqueline single-handedly got us all of our new investigators this week. Can you believe it? 12 references in ONE week. She is a rockstar. And, our other rockstar, Eduardo passed the sacrament yesterday! That was like THE COOLEST THING EVER to watch. It is so cool to watch this ward grow. For example, of the 4 men that helped with the sacrament, 2 are recent converts and 2 are recently- activated members. What a blessing. My ward is just SO great.
Além disso.... really nothing huge happened. Still so grateful to be a missionary and grateful to learn how much I STILL have to learn.
Happy Halloween this week- I expect pictures, of course. And heck- 1/3 of Skylars candy would be great too. She´s the cutest so shes definitely going to get the most. Haha
And to my best friend in the whole world, Katie. Wow. It flew, didn't it? I am so proud of you. Good luck with all the last minute details. I cant believe you check in to the MTC Wednesday. You will love it. The MTC is one of the most amazing places on earth. There is no greater blessing or opportunity that we have right now than to be missionaries. So go all out and make the most of it. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

No Transfer - Again!

Hello beautiful people. Without delay.... Did transfers even happen? I don't even know, because as far as I know, nothing changed.

That's RIGHT! I am still in Prossind, with Sister Moore. That's a good thing, too, because now we can finish her training. I was worried for a bit because Presidente said he was going to need me to train again. False alarm. But... perhaps the upcoming transfer, then?

So... Prossind. What a blessing. This place just has so much work to be done. I´ll be honest, I have mixed feelings. I am not too excited about another 6 weeks on the same roads with the same people that I´ve lost track of the number of times I have already talked to. Ha faz parte, hein? But... we have some pretty awesome families that we have found recently, so I think it will be great. Obviously, there is a reason Heavenly Father still wants us here.

Oh! Get this. We had 8 investigators in church on Sunday. Record! But of course, it is just going to be better next Sunday. Lógico! That was a huge blessing. The new way we are doing street contacts is really working out for us, and we have got some pretty prime pesquisadores. But, at the same time.... I have never had a teaching group with more problems- for one reason or another, everyone we are teaching is not getting baptized. Its been a struggle this month. Everyone is traveling too. It's been difficult, but we can definitely still see the Lord´s hand in the work.

Last night was a miracle lesson. We showed up at Eliane´s house. She wants to get baptized, but she has to stop smoking, and she is really struggling with will-power. We have prayed. And fasted. And prayed again. So we stopped passing by, but last night we showed up again to talk to her daughter, Andrea. Andrea wasn't home, so we asked Eliane how she was doing and she immediately informs us that she promised herself and Heavenly Father that she is finally going to stop smoking. I don't think it was a coincidence that we passed by last night- NOTHING in God´s work is a coincidence. We may think we have good luck from time to time, but in all reality- its always just part of His plan unfolding. Anyway, she said she had been reading the Book of Mormon and a part really caught her attention. She gets her book and opens up to 2 Nephi 31. Yes! Yes! Yes! The doctrine of Christ. Loooovvvvveeeee it. She said the part that hit her was the verse that talks about the commandments. That we really can't show our love for God or follow Him if we aren't willing to keep His commandments. It was a really sweet lesson to watch her read the chapter to us and learn all of this for herself. It taught me a lot about the way Heavenly Father works. I swear, I have already read that chapter to her, I had already promised her all of those things, but last night was when she finally got it- because she learned it for herself. She did her part. And in that moment, I couldn't be frustrated that she didn't listen to me earlier, or that it really wasn't anything new. In that moment, I was amazed, humbled, and grateful to have witnessed a miracle. And a miracle it was, because, yes, she took her sweet time to learn it, but what matters is that she DID. I think God sees us the same way. I don't think He cares how long it takes us to get there. I am sure it saddens Him when we waste time and deny blessings, but I really believe He just wants us to make it, and He will be there every step of the way until we do.

This idea made me think of parents in general.I am not a parent, but I know a few good ones- my parents topping that list. And I can only imagine how many tears they have cried and how many moments of frustration and despair they have passed through because of me. But I am grateful for their patience, and that even if I wouldn't ``take their word for it`` and apply everything they tried to teach me growing up, I am grateful that I did learn a thing or two eventually. And yes, it was always things they had tried to teach me earlier. I am definitely aware of the fact that it would have saved me a lot of heartache had I only listened. This is true for all of us, I'm sure. And so to those of you who are tired, who feel like you are failing because in a back- breaking way you are doing every possible thing imaginable to help someone you love come back, or stick through it, or get some sense through their heads, my plea to you is be patient and don't you ever give up. I am not going to promise you that the tears will dry. I am not going to give you the cliché phrase: ``Don't worry, it will all be okay. Because I know that soft words do little for hard circumstances. And though it means next to nothing, I can promise you that I know a little bit about what that feels like... But more importantly, I  can even more readily attest to the certainty I have that Heavenly Father knows exactly what that feels like because He has felt it for each one of us.

But that isn't to say there is not solution. It just may not always be the one we expect. I really don't believe that when we pray, our situations are instantaneously corrected or resolved. But I PROMISE you that if you have faith, you can pray for peace and it will hit you like a brick-wall until that day when He comes, and wipes away all our tears, eases our burdens, and our sorrows fade once and for all. Peace is real, and I believe it to be one of the most powerful gifts we have in this life. Pray for it, and it will come. That is my promise to you. Better yet, that is God´s promise to you.

It breaks my heart to hear of your struggles, but I am proud of each of you and the strength I see. You are doing great. Don't you dare give up. Stay strong. Press forward. This gospel is true. I have not a doubt in my mind. I remember being growing up with doubts and fears. But I URGE you to follow President Uchtdorf´s counsel and ``First, doubt your doubts BEFORE you doubt your faith.`` I promise you that if you seek to live the gospel, you will develop that unshakable testimony that it is true. That is how we have faith: Because we first acted on promised blessings. You have to act.

I love you all and am so grateful for your support. Have a wonderful week. Be safe. Take care. Help someone you know, because you don't know how bad they need it.

Until Monday.

Love, Sister M Seal

Katie- good luck with your last week, I need your mission address. Tchau.

PS Made that Texas Sheet cake. Safe to say my roommates love me :) THANKS A MILLION.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Changing Perspectives


Hmmmm.... I am getting lazy with these emails, arent I? Pois é. This one isnt going to be much better- so não fiquem chateados, ta cert?
I hope you guys are learning Portuguese, because I am definitely forgetting English. Skyping on Christmas will definitely be interesting.... Ha!
So can anyone even believe this? Transfers AGAIN. I swear I just barely wrote home about them. Yep! The 23rd. Questions of the week: Am I staying in Prossind? (Or am I going to Campina Grande- the coldest place on the mission... muahaha) Question numero dois: Is my companion going to train, or stay with me? Who knows? Presidente Nogueira.... Good thing I am learning to be a patient person... right?
Katie- Parabéns! I read your farewell talk, and I know you did a fabulous job! Way to go, girl! How nice is that to have it over with! Dont worry.... the next talk you give with be in Portuguese. Hahaha
And, Conner, congrats, you are killing debate! What a rockstar.
This was a good week. My perspective is really changing out here. My bishop gave me a list of inactives last week. I am shocked and saddened that 80 of the those baptized in this area are inactive, but at the same time, my companion and I are thrilled with a new way to work in this area.  We have a lot of new ideas and are determined to bring these people back. That is the call, isn't it? Rescuing those who are lost, the words of the prophet himself in the Liahona. There is so much work to be done here. Anywhere, really. Even in Utah.
We had a baptism marked for yesterday, but it fell through because her son got really sick- Dengue, if you know what that is. Nasty business. But, she is going to be baptized this week, which is awesome! Her name is Dagna, its the woman that came to church on her own, simply because she saw it through her apartment window. She is SO cool! When we invited her to be baptized this week, she just looked at me and said, ``Do you think I really even deserve it?`` Ahhhh, of course she does! It makes me SO happy to hear how excited she always is to go to church. She is already inviting all her friends and family. She LOVED conference- how simple all the doctrines are. Justamente! The gospel really is and should be simple.
Other news/ details  I may have missed:
People are actually telling me I speak well!!! wahooo!!!! And, the juice here just keeps getting better and better. Also, the weather? Everyone told me I would be dying by September, but it's already the middle of October, and I don't think the weather has really changed at all. It just rains a little bit less. But quite honestly, it still rains more than it does in Utah. In fact, as I type this email, it's raining! I LOVE LOVE LOVE rain. Which reminds me, how are you all liking the snow??? Is it even snowing yet?  Haha don't send pictures- I will get really, really jealous :) But, do be careful driving, folks.
Still loving the work here. This week is going to be GREAT! The last week of the transfer always is. And we are doing divisions! YES! All in all, I am excited to see all the changes. Cool news about transfers: Last transfer more sisters arrived than elders. This transfer, more sisters are arriving than elders too! Can you believe that? And with last transfer, and this next transfer, we will double the number of sisters in the mission. Where are all the missionaries going to go? President doesn't really know what to do either because it means we have to open a lot of areas, and I think they may send another companionship to my area. Cool, right? Ha just loving this work.
Thanks for everything. Gotta go- I am going to go make that texas sheet cake, finally! whoot! I LOVE you guys so much and wish you all success, happiness, health, and safety.
Tchau! Até mais (depois das transferencias! Wish me luck??)
Sister Seal
PS. Katie: SO SO SO proud of you.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Conference? Loved It!


WHOOT! CONFERENCE! LOVED IT! (Here is my request- note to Mom (will you send me Uchtdorf´s  and Holland´s talks? I want to print them off here. Thanks in advance).
Thanks for the birthday package. I am so excited about the Texas Sheet cake Dry Mix. I almost died. Yaáll should have seen my face. And the boys´cards had me laughing for a lot longer than I´d care to admit. Michael, watch your ego. But it's true. I HAVE THE GREATEST FAMILY IN THE WORLD..... amen!
So this week was good and hard at the same time. I found out that one of my recent converts is really sick and doesn't have much time left to live. That was a blow. That came out of nowhere. And despite all the tears and shock and grief, I felt so much peace and gratitude because she found it. She found the gospel. She found the very blessing we have in this life that thereby we understand that death is not permanent. Sorrow is temporary. Christ did everything. God knows everything. Hope is real. Peace is one of the most powerful gifts in life and we can have it, through the knowledge and understanding we have of the life our our Savior, and the teachings he left behind.
Yep, hard week- but it was also a week of perspective, and I am learning to be grateful for every tear- both of joy and heartache, because in both instances we can be grateful, and in either case, there is always something to learn.
I hope you all loved conference as much as I did, because I admit it- my companion and I were quite devastated when the final prayer was offered to close the meeting for another six months. Can we even wait that long??? Nooooooo......
But here are some ideas I had/ quotes I LOVED/ themes or ideas mentioned:

Dedication. Perseverance. Self-disciple. Meekness. Gratitude, grace, dignity. 
``Shall I falter or shall i finish?``

Abandon the script and the lesson becomes Christ´s
Decisions define Destiny. Amen!

Where are you willing to go? Faith points to the future...
``Fatigue is the common enemy to us all.``

``Don't assume you can fix everything, but fix what you can. If those are small victories, be grateful for them.``

``You must become the rock the river cannot wash away``

``Always doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.`` (Tell me how many times this was made a status on facebook. That was the coolest talk ever!)

And my personal favorite quote of the meeting: ``If the bitter cup doesn´t pass, drink it. And watch for the better days ahead.`` I think this says a lot...but I am not going to try to tell you what this idea means to me... because I will ruin it. But think about it- because it is more important what this means to YOU.
Overall, pretty much christmas. Loved Conference. We are so blessed to have a prophet who receives revelation from our loving Father in Heaven. I know that each of the messages can be directed and implemented in our lives. We just have to pray to know how.

Out of time. Love you guys. Tchau!

Monday, September 30, 2013

DREAM Mission



Fabulous week. As always. Joâo Pessoa is a DREAM mission. We are so so so spoiled. Especially in this area. Love it. :)

So... we had another baptism. Antônio. He was a miracle. We found him on the road, leaving his house a week ago, Saturday. I thought to myself, ``I really dont want to contact him- he looks like he is in a hurry...`` But, at the same time, we have to be obedient- and the idea is: TALK WITH EVERYONE. So I stopped him and found out he had actually already been to the church, quite a few times, in the past before he moved here to JP. So, after a lot of questions, we finally got him to agree to come to church the next day with us (last Sunday) and there at church, my district leader actually marked the baptism for the following Saturday. Yes, I know. My DL is the coolest kid in the world. Anways, he loved the meeting, we taught him in a week and baptized him and it was such a testimony to me that God really puts specific people in our path for a reason- and that we dont know who will be ready to accept the gospel. I had nearly the same experience with 2 more people this week who accepted baptism for this next sunday. We will see. Hopefully it all works out. We have such  great group of investigators. The only trick is getting them to go to church. They cant be baptized if they dont go to church. And a lot of them want to be baptized... but when sunday morning rolls around.... OOOPS. Ha! But its okay, we are doing all we can and I know that at the end of the day, Heavenly Father is in control.

Oh. Yeah. So a few ward members did throw me a surprise birthday party, which was SO sweet. Best cake balls EVER. It was good. I have a pic- but it is on Sister J´s camera, so i will try to get that soon. But, Sister J and her companion, Sister Willette also bought me a mickey mouse cake earlier that day, which was super sweet of them- so that, I DO have picture of. Dont mind how awful my hair is- you saw the cindrella pic which wasnt too long before getting that cake. Yes, that is my excuse. The other pic is with Jaqueline, my brazilian mother, at our baptism. She always gives me the raised eyebrow look. I just dont think she realized I am QUEEN of the raised eyebrow look.... hahaha love brasileiros.

Language is coming along really well- people are finally telling me I speak well, which means a lot. Brazil is just great. But, man! It is starting to get HOT. Haha oh well, totally worth it. Oh, cool news: our mission baptized 200 people this month. Amazing. The work is so great here.

Anyways, that is about it. I hope you are all doing well. Conner, good luck at the debate tournament. I love you all so much.

Wahooooooo conference this weekend! Could it be that time already? Goodness, this is better than Christmas. :)

Tchau!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Happy Birthday to ME !!

 
Hello! Thanks for all of the birthday wishes! So far, it has been a good one. :) I hope Kim and Kate had a fabulous weekend too?
 
So... this week was great, but I spent like all of my time responding to family emails, meaning this will be the shortest email EVER. Desculpa. But, most important news: Cleonice was baptized yesterday! WAHOOOOO! It was SO great, we are so happy for her. She is one of the most amazing people I know- so willing to do whatever it takes to follow Christ. What an example. So I will send those pics... one with my companion and I with the woman of the hour, and another with Elder Morais, our distric leader, who baptized her. More baptisms to come, we have a great group of people that we are teaching right now. So be excited! :)
 
The other pic is of my scrubbing the floors on hands and knees this morning. Yes, Dad, I TOLD you I am Cinderella. Now I have proof. Ha this is how we spend birthdays in Brazil, I guess. Love it. Other than that, everything in Brazil is just great. We are finding some pretty incredible people and I am so blessed to be here, working in this area.
 
Oh! And the third pic is of Sister Johnson and I- we are crazy... most of our nights are like that- fools, the whole lot of us. Oh well. Já era. :)
 
Michael, have fun at homecoming. Conner, keep it up with debate! Logan, you sacked the quarterback. You make me proud, buggy. Katie, dont party too hard. ;) Skylar- LOVE you, gêmia. Oh, Ashley Dana, good luck on your mission!
 
Anyways, I love you guys. Sorry, this is pretty boring, but next week´s will be awesome!
 
Love,
Sister Seal
 



 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Sister Bassi and I

Sister Bassi and I at the bus stop the day of transfers... don't worry. We ended up calling a taxi- luggage on crazy brazilian busses..... mmmmmm. No thanks.



Happy Birthday Katie & Kim


I am going to apologize now. I have nothing. I mean really, I just emailed Wednesday.
 
It was a good week. C. came to church- hopefully she will be baptized Sunday, but we don't know yet, because she might want to wait and be baptized with the rest of her family. We have found some STELLAR investigators. Just loving life- loving this area. What a blessing.
 
My companion? Daughter #2. She is 19. She is a singer. From Colorado. With a HUGE, beautiful family. She is really nice. But, best of all, she WORKS. Man. She works HARD. She is scared of contacting on the street just as much as I am- but we set goals every day and we are actually doing really great with street- contacting. Fantastic! I was scared to have an American companion- but she speaks pretty darn well already. A lot of people here are hard to understand- so she has to get accostomed to their accents so for now I have to understand everything they say. I am so surprised- I understand way more than I realized. I know God is helping me and I am grateful every transfer for a new challenge because it forces me to improve. It's fantastic! The language is really coming. As Sister Bassi would say, YES! YES! YES! ...
 
Anyways. I also want to say Happy Birthday to Katie on Saturday and Kim on Sunday. Kate- I just don't think it matters that we are lightyears apart. I´m thinking we can still dress up like twins for three days strait and share a party, presents, and a cake. You game? Cool.
 
We have a few investigators that really struggle with addictions. We did a ``practice lesson`` in District meeting this week and I learned something super cool. A lot of the time people will say they want to change, but they don't know how.... They really don't need a miracle. All they need is faith. When we ask people what God means to them here- the answer is always the same. We say, ``Who/ what is God to you?`` They answer, ``Tudo.`` Meaning, everything. Sure! Makes sense. Concordo. But, think about this question. ``Who are YOU to GOD....`` Let me tell you something that I know: The answer is the same. YOU are everything to God. Every single one of my investigators means EVERYTHING to God. That means, He would and will do anything it takes to help us. So then maybe they will say, well, sure, He will help me. But I can't do it- I need time. What do you mean, exactly? Time? In all reality the best day to change is today because we never had any guarantee of tomorrow. In 6 days Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ created the whole world- ALL life. Undoubtedly in 6 days they can change YOUR life. Or in one day. Today. This moment. This instant.
 
It was a really cool meeting- I really like our district. Our DL is amazing. I think he is really going to help us out this transfer. Should be great. And I am still loving our ward, and this area. Even after 3 months. Hahaha.
 
So its starting to heat up here in JP. Big time. O gente. Its crazy- we are going to fry. But I am grateful we have had amazing weather up until now. Okay, so major street flooding almost every week isnt exactly amazing weather- but I love it. It keeps things interesting. The food is still great- we are always trying new things and I could almost already fill an entire recipe book. Yes, lucky family of mine... you just wait.... :)
 
Other than that, no real news. Next week's letter should be better. Desculpa. But, I love you all. You are great! Shout out to Papa, Grandma, Oma, Kim, and Mother. THANK you all SO much for your letters! Totally made my day today to hear from you! Tchau, tchau. Have a wonderul week.
 
Love, Sister Seal

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Staying in Prossind Photos

This wonderful man at center drives the Sister missionaries in the Prossind area whenever the location is just too far to walk.

McKenna with her new companion, Sister Moore beside her., to the right.

Staying In Prossind!


So.... I don't actually know where to begin this week.... So I guess we can start with Chicken Hearts. Thats RIGHT! I ATE one! Muahahaha. That totally makes me more of a man than Michael- because he wouldn't eat it at Brasa Grill. Mmmmhmmm. Quite proud. We love surrascos (AKA Brazilian BBQ) here.
Sunday brought us one of the greatest blessings so far. At church a woman and her son showed up that were not members of the ward. Naturally, being good little missionaries, we introduced ourselves and she explained that she recently moved into the area- an apartment complex behind the church and had looked out the window one day and decided she wanted to visit that church building she could see from her window. So she came on her own! Crazy. And they both liked the meetings too. Afterwards, I gave her a Book of Mormon because a lot of the talks were about scriptures. She started crying- she was so grateful! It was so cute, and I am SO grateful that she came. And we have an appointment with her tomorrow. God really works in the coolest ways!
Monday we had a really cool lesson with a Catholic woman, Nossa. She is REALLY Catholic- which can be difficult as we try to share the truth of the gospel, but the lesson was incredible. We don't bible- bash. That is not how Jesus taught, and that is not how we will teach either. But she was talking about the Grand Apostasy, and how she doesn't believe it ever happened. She believes the priesthood was never taken from the earth. So, we tried to explain that the truths in the early church were distorted, the doctrines were changed. We really needed a restoration. I explained 3 examples of distorted truths- as respectfully and carefully as possible. 1) Pope v. Prophet. 2) Baptism needs 3 specific qualifications to be ``valid`` and 3) The second commandment; we don't worship images. So I asked her if she believes in the 10 commandments and naturally, she said, ``Of course.`` Then I opened up to Exodus to explain that this is a simple example of a change in the doctrine of Christ. That unfortunatly, the Catholic church worships images...etc. She said, but that is your bible. Your bible is different than mine. Then she ran to her bedroom to get her bible. We found the verse in her bible and she began to flip pages back and forth very quickly. When she realized, that indeed, the commandment is the same even in her bible, she looked up, completely flustered and said, ``This can't be my bible-this verse changed. This isn't the same scripture.`` We just waited and she finally gave up, saying,`` You got me.`` It was crazy. It was one of my favorite lessons so far. It wasn't any bible bash at all. We weren't even arguing. It was merely a disply of simple truths- that in reality WE HAVE THE TRUTH. We know it- it was distorted, it was taken. But now it has been restored. Anyways, I still am not expecting much to come of it, because I can show her hundreds of ``proofs`` and it will never amount to anything unless she wants it to. But, that's not my job. My job is to invite. Because the truth is, I can't prove anything, because I know very little. But of the little I know, I KNOW that God knows everything. And I KNOW that God answers prayers. And if we want to know this church is true, it's most likely not going to come by any ``proof``` or verse or vision. Our testimony will come by faith; by a sincere desire to know, and then by demonstrating enough humility to plead with God for an answer. But the promise is that He DOES answer. He always answers, because He loves us. He really, truly wants to bless us, which reminds me of a scripture I read this week.

1 Cor 2:9, ``But as it is written, ``Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.``
And how do we know when we love him? We serve Him. We keep His commandments. Anyways- it was just a rockin´week. And this week is only going to be better!
Sorry for making you wait so long. Tranfers. WHAT A BLESSING- I stayed in my area, Prossind. I am SO happy! But, we did have some changes. All four of us sisters that were living together are training AGAIN. So Sister Bassi and Sister Sciammarella left- they are in different areas now. I admit it... I cried. A LOT. We both did. Saying goodbye to Sister Bassi  was really, really hard. She was the greatest blessing. And it is going to be hard to work here without her. But. I know the Lord always knows what He is doing, and I am excited to learn from my new companion, Sister Moore. She seems really nice. She is an American. Yep. Like what? Im training an American? Crazy. We will see how the Portguese goes this transfer... haha. Transfers were crazy, but I am so happy to still be in Prossind and work with these amazing people- they have so much potential, and they are so ready for the gospel.
The church is true. I really don't have any doubt- whatsoever. We are so blessed. Anyways, thanks for all of your support. I love you all. Have a fantastic week. :)
Love, Sister Seal

Monday, September 2, 2013

Judge Not & Share


Olá abênçoados! Tudo bem? Semana maravilhosa aquí no Brasil!
Ok. Since a few of you may not speak Portuguese just yet... (Yet meaning everyone needs to learn it at some point in life- it's the language of angels, didnt know know?) I guess I will speak in English now.
Happy September! Yep. Great week. I don't have my planner with me so I am going to forget everything. A week ago we found J., a man who was drinking with his friends in a bar. We had crossed the street to contact a DIFFERENT man, but he got away too quickly. What a pity- he doesn't know what he is missing. Anyways, J. yells over to us (from the bar) and we turn back in his direction, preparing ourselves for a quick conversation with a couple of scorpions... (For those of you who don't know what a scorpion is- it's a man who doesn't actually want to hear your message, but just wants to talk to some pretty girls. Yes, Brazil is infested with them. Haha it's fine.) Ok. Now that we are up to speed. So long story short: As drunk as he was, he was actually pretty sober and we asked him if we could come back another day and teach him. He accepted, and I admit it- I didn't think it would amount to anything. But of course, in times like these, I love to be proven wrong. So this week we passed by his house, he invited us in to talk to his mom and wife as well. Best decision ever. They are AMAZING. J.´s dad just passed away last month... so they have a lot of questions- all of which pertaining to... drumroll please... the Plan of Salvation. Basically we taught the restoration and plan of salvation last week and the whole family loves us. More importantly, they love the message. They all prayed about our message and said they feel real peace in their home during and after our visits. They know what we are telling them is true and they LOVE reading the Book of Mormon with us. Better yet, in our lesson yesterday, all three of them agreed to be baptized on the 15th ! WOW! What a blessing. And J. has 2 daughters, one is 8- so she can be baptized too.  It is amazing. I am convinced the 3 girls will be baptized. But we have to work with J.- he can't drink anymore, obviously. So we will see- but we are praying for him.  I know he can do it with God's help. But he has to believe in himself too. 

Anyways, yes, we are so blessed with miracle families these days... they only problem? Transfers. Yes.... that would be NEXT week. Can anyone believe how fast this transfer flew. No? Good. Me either. And.... 13 sisters are arriving in our mission meaning President will have to cut a lot of training short this transfer (as was the case with my training...) Given how amazing Bassi, my companion, is... I am convinced he will ask her to train- even with only a month on the mission. Scary. Cool, too, though. So that means I will  probably train again and it also means I think I will move out of my area. It's hard- thank heavens I don't get to make the decision. I am not ready to leave, and I am still kind of hoping I don't- but I know that my investigators need me to leave so they don't ``depend on us missionaries``. That can be dangerous. Anyways. Yep, so you know the drill- next Monday= no email. I will be emailing Wednesday, the 11th.
Mom asked about when I will go to the escritorio again. This Wednesday is Zone Conference so I will get all my letters and packages that day. Hallelujah!!! Its been too long since I have heard from all you beautiful people! ;)
The language is coming along really well. If I don't understand something the first time, it usually only takes 1 repeat to get it. I feel really blessed. Right now I just really want to get the accent down- Spanish accents stick hard!
Other story. We were walking down the road and a man sitting in a restaurant calls out to us saying, ``You´re not elders... you´re sisters.`` Which translates as follows: ``I am your NEXT investigator``... Naturally at this point we are beaming and start attacking him with questions. He explains that he had a lot of friends growing up that were members- and that even served missions. He told us that he had always wanted to serve a mission, but that NONE of those friends had every invited him to go to church or to even learn about the church. Ok. Maybe part of the blame falls on him- sure. But I really believe more of the blame falls on the friends he had who never thought to share the gospel with someone they cared about. But really I don't want to spend time dwelling on how devastated I am that this man has lost more than 40 years that he could have spent in the church. That he could have served a mission... that his kids (because he has many) could have served too... Or at least could have grown up with the gospel. No. We won't dwell on this- because this wasn't the thought that struck me as he was explaining the desire he had HIS WHOLE LIFE to be invited. But instead I see it from the alternative perspective.  I was overwhelmed and heartbroken remembering every time I didn't testify or invite someone I love. I am as guilty of it as anyone else- and all it leaves me with is regret. I can make the excuse that I grew up in Utah.... but that just won't work, will it? I knew and still know a lot of people who needed the gospel. I was their chance (not their only chance- thank heavens...) and I blew it. So my challenge is as follows: It is a prophetic promise that as  we pray to know with whom we can share the gospel, names and faces will come to our minds. This is a PROMISE. So I invite each of you to put that promise to the test. Pray for guidance. Pray for a missionary opportunity. The real missionaries are the members and I promise you that you know people that perhaps the missionaries will never find if you don't make the first step. Invite. That's all we can do.  Invite and testify. You know people who need this message. Pray for the opportuntiy, and it will come. I wish it  were something I had done more often before I left- and something I am determined to do when I get back. I never again want to be ``that friend`` who ``never invited me`` as that man in that restaurant said earlier this week. 
Well, time is up.  Sorry- only two stories this week and no new photos- but I´ll definitely let ya´all know how transfers go! Have a wonderful week! I love you all. Thank you for your prayers, love, and support! Be safe, and as my wonderful Kim always says: Be good! :)
Love,
Sister Seal

Monday, August 26, 2013

This Week Flew Photos

This photo is with my companion on my shoulder- she didnt think i was that
strong. Every once in awhile.... I like to prove, that in fact I AM.
Hahahaha
My whole mission with Elder Costa. Enjoy.
I hope you can find me. You can play "Wheres Waldo, if you want, but I am
on the right side with all the sisters.

We had a lot of fun with the moustaches that Stefani
sent us in the package I got Wednesday.





This Week Flew - Thanks Stefani

Wow. This week FLEW. First things first. Mission conference- just what
I needed. It was unbelievable. Elder Costa é o cara!  We learned a lot
and I definitely left feeling a lot more motivated.

After the meeting, I got a huge stack of letters and a package from
Stefani. THANK YOU!!! Pretty sure the Elders hate me now... but thank
you! It totally made my week. I have the greatest family and friends
in the world.

Oooh. Guess what we had for lunch one day this week? Salmon. Not
kidding. Good night, I am spoiled. The only problem was that the
salmon definitely reminded me of Carrabba´s. Which definitely
reminded me of Katie. Bad idea. Sure do miss my best friend!

Yesterday Jaqueline, Beatriz, and Hercollys were confirmed. It was
great! I love that family. Also- Sister Bassi gave a talk in sacrament
meeting... which is super funny because I haven´t had to speak even
once yet. I don't know how I have managed to fly under the radar this
long- but no complaints. *Knock on wood* I guess Bishop wants to keep
the members in the ward- and asking me to speak sure isn't going to
help. Hahaha. Oh well.

Other family- C. and D. So great. We took the bishop to
their house last week because he wanted to meet them both. They both
really like the bishop and C. said, he would definitely go to
church Sunday. Guess what! He actually went! And he LIKED it. No
surprise there, of course, but all the same, WAHOOO! And in Gospel
Principles, he told the class that he has a lot of addictions- but
that since we have started teaching his family- he has been letting
those addictions go. Wow. We haven't even taught the commandments yet!
We haven't even asked him to start making changes, but he, on his own
has already recognized which changes he needs to make. How amazing is
that?

D´s reaction was great too. She told us she has had a lot of
people from a lot of different religions come through her house
telling her which church to join but that she has never felt anything
as strong as she does when we (the missionaries) come. Legal. She
actually knows how to recognize the spirit. Great! We can work with
this...

Anyways, we love this family. They are great. I love watching the
gospel change lives. Thats about it with our investigators right now.
We have a lot- but we can't seem to get them to come to church these
past two weeks- meaning they aren't progressing... yet! We have faith.
It has been good for me though. When things don't work out, it reminds
me to be even more grateful when they do. With all the success we have
been having, I´d been starting to wonder if things just always got
handed to you on a silver platter, here in Brazil. Haha. Missionary
work is still work. Yet, I do recognize just how blessed that work is
here in Joâo Pessoa. We are SO blessed. Lovin´ life. Lovin´ being a
missionary.

Now of course, with such a great week, its only fair that I share
something inspiring with you. Lógico. So! Elder Holland´s talk, Teach
the Atonement. It is a good one.

``We don't really know very much about the premortal council in heaven.
But one of the things we do know is that the issue was agency and
obedience. We were free to choose. There was a great division over
this matter. 2/3 followed the Father, lining up behind the son in that
obedience, and 1/3 did not. The impediments there were the impediments
you know from scripture, call it what you will-- rebellion, arrogance,
hostility, or evil.

``The battle is still being waged. The arena has changed. What began
in heaven has moved to this earth, but tht fight is still on. It is
the most fundamental issue in our lives. Will we choose, with our
agency, to voluntarily, humbly, obediently, follow God the Eternal
Father and His son, Jesus Christ, or not? That is the issue of all
eternity. It was the issue before we ever came here, and it is the
issue now.

See D&C 130:20-21.
``Before the foundations of this world, laws were decreed in heaven by
which we get any blessing."

``As if we would not understand this, the Lord says, ``all blessing.``
I dont know how you can takl about a blessing that does not fall into
the ``all`` category. So whatever blessing you want in this life, you
will save yourself a lot of grief if you will understand now that the
promise is inte obedience and that the fulfillment is in the law that
was decreed. Do not fight that.``

Pretty interesting right? Elder Holland is ótimo. Really. Anyways,
that's about it... Hope you are all loving school and staying safe. You
are the greatest! Have a great day. I love you all!

Love,
Sister Seal

PS. The photos- we had a lot of fun with the moustaches that Stefani
sent us in the package i got Wednesday.